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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community

Thursday, February 02, 2017
CHAOTIC CALM: Living from Your Confident Center in Tumultuous Times by guest blogger Sara Avant Stover, author of THE BOOK OF SHE
Let’s be honest. 2016 was a hellish ride for many of us.
I separated from my former fiancé and embarked on the daunting quest to build an entirely new life. We lost Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, George Michael, Florence Henderson, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds.
The U.S. had one of the most contentious presidential elections in our history — with reports of Russian hacking, no less! We’ve faced atrocities in Aleppo, Orlando, Oakland, and so many other places. Globally, we’re more divided than ever.
In our individual lives, many of us hover in survival mode, struggling to stay afloat amid life’s incessant changes and challenges.
I’ve heard from you, and I know that together we’re facing divorces, miscarriages, the debilitating fatigue of early motherhood, wacky hormonal shifts, aging parents, chronic illness, weight gain, low libido, and constantly feeling like we’re not enough.
When we consider the inner and outer stressors we’re facing, it’s no wonder that we’re living with an extreme amount of uncertainty and chaos.
The bright side?
I believe we are all being called to step up and take our seats — in the center of ourselves — right now. To take a stand for wisdom and compassion. To show up more and more. To ground ourselves and live aligned with our values.
The world desperately needs us — and it needs us at our best. Now more than ever.
But . . . how can we face all this without cowering in fear or burning out?
I’ve seen many of my dear friends and students neglecting their self-care because of all this tumult.

We stay up late, reading political articles or craving someone else’s reality on Instagram. We choose fast food over cooking for ourselves because there’s just too much to do or money’s tight. 

We get stuck in a fearful or angry place and can’t focus on the daily tasks that most need our loving attention.
When things are this chaotic, we have to be flexible about our routines and to-do lists. We have to take each day as it comes. But we also have to redouble our efforts to stay centered, connected, and compassionate. So we can feel personally fulfilled and resilient, no matter what’s happening around us. So we can truly show up for our life . . . and all its chaos.
Essential self-care is what keeps us from spinning out when a good day turns sour.
This isn’t a sprint. 2017 will be a marathon of self-love and self-care, relational and community engagement, and acts of compassion.
How can we survive this marathon when simply scrolling through our Facebook feed every morning feels like an avalanche of bad news?
How can we model wisdom and compassion when we were up till 3 the night before, tossing and turning, worrying, and finally numbing out with a glass of pinot noir?
How can we hear that calm, wise inner voice — the one that knows how to face all this turbulence and chaos — when we’re exhausted and stressed to the max?
After facing my own hellish year of initiation in 2016, I KNOW: the only way to transform obstacles into opportunities is to stay connected and to CHOOSE to do so.
You can choose to simplify your schedule when you’re sleep deprived.
You can choose to spend 10 minutes in meditation instead of worrying over your Facebook feed.
You can choose to shift from fear into faith.
You can make the choice, in any moment, to rewrite your story and change the trajectory of your day — and your year.

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Sara Avant Stover is the author of The Book of SHE and The Way of the Happy Woman

A pioneer in contemporary women’s work, she’s the creator of The SHE School, which offers a 9-month spiritual practice community for women. Visit her online at


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